Monday, February 4, 2008

The More Things Change

My mother started her trip yesterday. I asked her to bring me a Killing Fields refrigerator magnet from her stop in Cambodia. I collect magnets, because I'm cool. My family can look at our refrigerator and recall each and every vacation we've taken together, memories that are otherwise firmly repressed.

Before my mother left, she took the Lovely Bride and me out for dinner in honor of my birthday. It's an opportunity for a nice meal and some time away from my children. Needless to say, the kids are outraged by this.

"Why can't we come?" demanded my oldest son as we were getting ready.

"Because then it wouldn't be a present. It would be a punishment. They start with the same letter but mean different things. Punishments are bad. Presents are good, unless a stork brings them."

"Now why would you say that?" asked my Lovely Bride.

"It's true. Do you want your son to get some girl pregnant and spend the rest of his life flipping burgers?"

My youngest son piped up. "It would be better than your job."

"Which proves my point," I said. "Just because I love you doesn't mean you weren't an accident."

"I thought I was adopted," he said.

"Not yet," I replied. "We can't find anyone to take you."

"Is there a reason you deliberately antagonize your children?" asked the Lovely Bride.

"I've built up a hard shell of cynicism to protect me from their slings and arrows," I said.

"How come you're so weird?" asked my middle son.

"VoilĂ ," I said to the Lovely Bride. "Now you see the violence inherent in our family system."

She eyed me suspiciously. "Why does that sound familiar?"

"I was on Dr. Phil last week," I said. "The whole neighborhood was talking about it and you couldn't be bothered to watch."

The middle son rolled his eyes. "He's being dumb again, mom. It's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

"That figures. Your father has an unhealthy obsession with that movie," she said. "Anyway, if the neighborhood's been talking about him again I don't want to know why."

It's interesting how often she refers to me in the third person when I'm standing right there. She claims it's a psychological distancing mechanism. Go figure.

"Will you at least bring me some leftovers?" asked my oldest.

"Probably," I said.

My youngest saw his opening and pounced. "Once again, mom and dad love my brothers more than me."

"We love you all the same. Just in different ways," I said.

"What does that mean?" he asked.

"You're the most different so we love you the most differently."

He paused long enough to consider this that the Lovely Bride and I were able to slip out to the car and back out of the driveway. We picked up my mother and went to the restaurant. When I requested a Killing Fields magnet she turned to the Lovely Bride and said, "He's always been irritating but I think he's getting worse."

Being a parent is pretty much the same, no matter how old your children may be.


Jennifer said...

"He's always been irritating but I think he's getting worse."

So, does this mean the apple didn't fall far from the tree? Familiarity breeds contempt. Did you name any of your children Contempt? :)

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I collect magnets, because I'm cool.

I bow to your obvious coolness.

Your father has an unhealthy obsession with that movie,"

We're going to see Spamalot! Got my tix! Going to see Spamalot! (it's only a model)

On second thought, maybe we won't go to see Spamalot. It is a silly play.

I always say, if it weren't for Monty Python and Porn, the Interweb would be a much smaller place.